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Year 10 Reflection Day

The Year 10 students enjoyed a Jewish immersion experience last Thursday which provided a fantastic practical learning opportunity for Religion and Society Unit 2. We were challenged by trying to understand the horrors of the Holocaust, enjoyed a kosher lunch, listened to the role of women in Judaism and wondered at the beauty of one of Melbourne’s oldest synagogues.

We began our day, welcomed at the Holocaust museum half an hour ahead of opening time to accommodate our busy schedule. A film on the Holocaust reminded us that we are all part of one humanity; it commemorated the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. Listening to Holocaust survivors, Abe and John, was a moving experience as they told their stories of survival and loss. We toured the museum in small groups, accompanied by our own personal tour guide, and wondered at how one human being could commit such atrocity against another. Our visit concluded with the hope-filled lighting of the candle for the Memorial Room and being tasked with passing on the Holocaust stories so that we become voices for those who had no voice.

Our next stop on our itinerary was the Beth Weismann Centre, to enjoy a delicious kosher lunch, served to us by members of the Jewish community there. We listened to an engaging presentation by Dr. Michal Kaufman who is the Head of the Midrasha (a women’s communal learning institute) at the Mizrachi synagogue. At the Midrasha, women of all ages come to learn and study biblical text, Talmud (Jewish Law), and traditional Jewish commentators. Dr Kaufman gives weekly classes in Bible study and Jewish commentary. She addressed many aspects of our learning regarding Judaism within our study of Religion and Society Unit 2.

The last session of the day was a visit to the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation synagogue, the St Kilda Schule, and our host was Rabbi Ronnie Figdor. This beautiful building is one of Melbourne’s earliest synagogues and we sat in wonder at the elaborately decorated scrolls containing the Torah. Ronnie explained many aspects of life in the synagogue and how they, in turn, reflect the life of its adherents. Ensuring food is kosher, fit for consumption, is a complex process; hand-writing the Torah on parchment takes a year to complete and must be free of error. These are examples of the gems of knowledge we took away with us at the end of an engaging and enriching day.  





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